How Are LPG and LNG Different?

Spherical tanks - shutterstock_674277817
Spherical tanks

LPG and LNG are by-products of petroleum and they are increasingly used for fuel as countries are increasingly concerned about their environment.

So what are LPG and LNG, and how are they different?

LPG – Liquefied Petroleum Gas

LPG is liquefied petroleum gas which consists mainly of propane and butane.

LPG is commonly used as fuel in heating appliances, cooking equipment, and vehicles. It is also increasingly used as an aerosol propellant and refrigerant, replacing chlorofluorocarbons to reduce damage to the ozone layer.

As a clean fuel, LPG is also increasingly used to power cars and buses. For this application, LPG is referred to as autogas or CNG (compressed natural gas).

At the normal condition, 15 degrees C and 14.7 PSI, the mixture of propane and butane is in the gaseous state. However, when its pressure is increased to above 120 PSI, the gaseous mixture turns into liquid. The liquefaction of the LPG makes it easier to store and transport.

In the liquid state, the volume of the mixture is only 1/270th of its volume in gaseous form. So, when LPG is released to the atmosphere, it will expand 270 times as it turns into vapor.

LPG is produced by extracting the propane and butane from the gas and condensate produced from oil reservoirs and gas reservoirs. This extraction process usually takes place in a gas processing plant located at an oil or gas field.

LPG is also produced from crude oil as one of the distillates from the refining process in a refinery.

LNG – Liquefied Natural Gas

LNG is liquefied natural gas. In remote places where a large quantity of natural gas is discovered and no gas pipeline is available, the produced natural gas is often turned into a liquid allowing it to be transported in bulk by LNG carriers. At its destination, the LNG is offloaded from the tanker and stored in insulated tanks. The LNG will be processed back into a gas, and the gas will be put into the pipeline for further distribution.

To produce LNG, natural gas consisting mainly of methane is super-cooled to -162 degrees C to turn it into a liquid. This decreases the gas volume 600 times making it easier to store and transport. It also plays a very important and useful role in meeting peak demands for gas, which the normal pipeline infrastructure cannot do. LNG is finding many new applications, and its demand is increasing. According to a Shell report, the global demand for LNG is expected to increase 4 to 5 % per year until 2030 while the demand for natural gas will increase at 2% per year.

In places where demand for natural gas cannot be met locally, the use of FSRU is gaining popularity. FSRU is a floating, storage and regasification unit. An FSRU can be constructed and installed quite quickly and economically to receive LNG from an LNG carrier and deliver the gas to the end-users as needed.

In summary, LPG and LNG have similarities and differences.

Similarities of LPG and LNG
  1. Both LPG and LNG are by-products of crude oil and natural gas.
  2. They are both in liquefied form making them easier for storage and transportation.
  3. They are commonly used as fuel.
  4. They are considered as clean fuel as they leave no smoke or soot.
Differences between LPG and LNG
  1. LPG consists mainly of propane and butane whereas LNG consists mainly of methane.
  2. LPG has a much higher heating value than LNG, and therefore it is also used to power cars and even buses.
  3. LPG is liquefied by increasing its pressure whereas LNG is liquefied by lowering its temperature.
  4. LPG is usually distributed to consumers in pressurized cylinders whereas LNG is gasified before it is transmitted to end-users by pipelines.
  5. Finally, as their names imply, petroleum – the crude oil, condensate, and natural gas – is the source of the propane and the butane contained in the LPG, whereas natural gas is the main source of the methane contained in the LNG.

The article is written by Jamin Djuang, the author of The Story Of Oil and Gas: How Oil and Gas are Explored, Drilled and Produced.

 

The First Oil Discoveries in Indonesia

 

Boring van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Petroleum Maatschappij bij de Aroebaai te Pangkalansoesoe aan de Oostkust van Sumatra 1916
1892 Oil Drilling in Deli, Sumatera by NV Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij

 

In North America, the first oil well was drilled in 1858 by James Miller Williams in Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada.

In the United States, the petroleum industry began in 1859 when Edwin Drake found oil near Titusville, Pennsylvania.

How about in Indonesia?

Indonesia also has a very interesting history of early oil drilling, and it was not too far behind North America in finding its first oil wells in the 19th century.

In Indonesia, Dutch officials noted there were 53 oil seepage locations across Indonesia in 1869. The first oil well drilling in Indonesia began in 1871 in West Java. Several years later, oil was discovered in Pangkalan Brandan in Sumatera in 1885 and Sanga-Sanga in East Kalimantan in 1892.

The First Oil Discovery in Java

“Knowledge of oil on Java and Sumatra was reported as early as the year 954 and in 1596 a Dutch voyage reported a well in Sumatra producing a balm used for treating rheumatism and for lighting purposes (Van Bemmelen, 1949).”

“In 1869, Von Baumhauer recorded 44 oil seeps in Java, drilling for oil started in West Java in 1872 and the first oil company started operations in East Java in 1887 (Van Bemmelen, 1949).”

“Early exploration wells in West Java onshore were drilled by Jon Reesink who was a storekeeper in Cirebon (Courteney and others, 1989).  He visited the United States, collected drilling equipment and skills, and began drilling at Cibodas in 1871 with the financial backing of Nederlandsche Handel Maatschappij (the predecessor of Royal Dutch Shell) (Courteney and others, 1989).”

“Sub-commercial oil was found in two of his first four wells, which were drilled using water buffalo for power.  He resumed drilling in 1874 with steam equipment, but the next 5 wells were unsuccessful, which discouraged his backers.  However, other drilling ventures were conducted with encouraging shows, and the first commercial oil field was discovered at Randegan in 1939 (Courteney and others, 1989).”

The First Oil Discovery in Sumatera

In 1883, tobacco planter A.J. Zijkler obtained the first petroleum exploration rights in North West Sumatera from the Sultan of Langkat. He then discovered the first commercial oil well in Indonesia in 1885.

The discovery well – Telaga Tunggal 1 – was discovered in Langkat near Pangkalan Brandan. Oil was found at a depth of 121 meters and the field produced more than 7 million barrels of crude oil for more than 50 years.

The First Oil Discovery In Kalimantan

Oil was discovered in Balikpapan, Kalimantan in 1897 when Jacobus Hubertus Menten, a Dutch mining engineer observed oil seepages in the area.

With the help from Sir Marcus Samuel from Shell Transport and Trading Ltd, they drilled the famous Well Mathilda B-1 on 10 February 1897. The well was drilled to 222 Meter and it flowed initially at 184 barrels per day. This oil discovery in Balikpapan took place 38 years after Sir Edwin Drake drilled the world’s first oil well in America.

With the discovery, Jacobus Hubertus Menten and Sir Marcus Samuel formed Nederlandsch Indisch Industrie en Handel Maatschappij (NIIHM), and it continued to discover other oil fields away from Balikpapan. 10 February 1897 is considered the birth date of Balikpapan.

This article consists of excerpts from the article “Petroleum Systems of the Northwest Java Province, Java, and Offshore Southeast Sumatra, Indonesia” written by Michelle Bishop published by USGS in 2000 and information from several other sources.

The article is written by Jamin Djuang, the author of The Story Of Oil and Gas: How Oil and Gas are Explored, Drilled and Produced.

 

 

Eight Largest Oil Lifting Terminals in Indonesia

oil storage tanks
Oil Storage Tanks

In 2019, the average daily crude oil production in Indonesia was 746,000 barrels.

Here are the eight largest crude oil lifting terminals in Indonesia in 2019 according to SKK Migas of Indonesia.

  1. WIDURI MARINE TERMINAL

Widuri Marine Terminal is operated by Pertamina Hulu Energi OSES which operates the oil fields located in the Offshore South East Sumatera contract area.

The South East Sumatera contract area was initially awarded to IIAPCO in 1968. Many big oil fields were discovered in this block such as Banuwati, Cinta, Intan, Widuri and Zelda.

Crude oil produced from these fields were stored in the Lentera Bangsa FSO – a floating, storage, and offloading vessel – and then offloaded into oil tankers.

The operatorship of this contract area changed hands many times during its 50 years of operation. Previous operators include IIAPCO, Maxus, Repsol, and CNOOC.

The average daily crude oil lifting volume of the Widuri Marine Terminal was 8501 BOPD.

  1. SENORO MARINE TERMINAL

Senoro Marine Terminal is operated by JOB Pertamina  Medco Tomori Sulawesi which is a joint operating body consisting of Pertamina Hulu Energi, Medco E&P and Tomori E&P.

JOB Pertamina Medco Tomori Sulawesi operating in the Tomori-Toili Block located in Central Sulawesi produces gas and condensate from the Senoro gas field and crude oil from the Tiaka oil field.

The gas from the Senoro field is processed into LNG by the Donggi-Senoro LNG plant which started operation in August 2015.

The average daily lifting volume at Senoro Marine Terminal was 14,857 BOPD

  1. TUBAN MARINE TERMINAL

Tuban Marine Terminal located in East Java is operated by PT Pertamina EP. The terminal handles the lifting of crude oil that Pertamina EP produces from the Tuban block. Before 29 February 2018, the Tuban block was operated under Joint Operating Body (JOB) Pertamina Petrochina East Java.

PT Pertamina EP, established on 17 September 2005, came under the supervision of BPMIGAS on 17 September 2005. BPMIGAS became SKK Migas on 13 November 2012.

On average, 16358 BOPD was lifted at the Tuban Marine Terminal.

  1. ARDJUNA TERMINAL

The Ardjuna oil terminal is operated by Pertamina Hulu Energi ONWJ which operates the oil and gas fields located in the Offshore North West Java work area.

The huge Ardjuna oil field was initially discovered by ARCO after it signed the PSC contract in 1971. ARCO later became BP West Java.  Pertamina Hulu Energi ONWJ became the operator of the Ardjuna field in July 2009.

The average crude oil lifting volume from the Ardjuna terminal was 25626 BOPD.

  1. SENIPAH MARINE TERMINAL

Senipah Marine terminal is operated by Pertamina Hulu Mahakam. The terminal was previously operated by Total Indonesie who discovered several big oil and gas fields – Bekapai, Handil, Tunu, Peciko, Sisi, Tunu –  in the Offshore Mahakam block.

On average, 31539 BOPD was lifted at The Senipah Marine terminal.

  1. RU PP7

The RU PP7 terminal is located in the Riau province in Sumatera and operated by Chevron Pacific Indonesia.

The average daily lifting volume at RU PP7 Terminal was 62,337 BOPD.

  1. DUMAI TERMINAL

The Dumai terminal is located in the Riau province in Sumatera and operated by Chevron Pacific Indonesia who holds the operatorship of the prolific Rokan PSC which will soon expire in 2021.

Chevron Pacific Indonesia, also known as CPI, discovered two super-giant oilfields: the Duri field in 1941 and Minas in 1944. Subsequently, CPI continued to discover many smaller oil fields in the Rokan work area.

Due to its low gravity oil, the Duri field underwent steam flooding in 1985 to enhance the recovery of its heavy oil. The Duri field steam flood project is one of the largest in the world.

The average daily lifting volume at the Dumai Terminal was 116,555 BOPD.

  1. BANYU URIP MARINE TERMINAL

At an average daily crude oil lifting volume of 200, 937 barrels, the Banyu Urip Marine Terminal is currently the top crude oil lifting terminal in Indonesia. It handles the lifting of the crude oil produced by Mobil Cepu from the onshore Banyu Urip field located in the Cepu Block contract area.

After the crude is processed in the central processing facilities (CPF) located at the center of the oil field, the oil is transported through a 72 KM long pipeline to the coast of Tuban, and then through a 23 KM long subsea pipeline to the FSO (Floating, Storage and Offloading) vessel. The FSO is named FSO Gagak Rimang.

The crude oil from the Banyu Urip field is lifted by oil tankers from FSO Gagak Rimang for transport to domestic and international refineries. The FSO has storage capacity for 2 million barrels of crude oil.

This article is written by Jamin Djuang based on the information published by SKK Migas. He is the founder of LDI Training which provides oil and gas training and the published author of The Story of Oil and Gas.

 

Performance of Oil Industry of Indonesia in 2019

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Power Plant at North Jakarta, Indonesia

 

Oil companies in Indonesia and SKK Migas were buzzing with activities and excitement in 2019.

Exploration and Production Results

First, here are the combined performance results of the exploration and production activities of all the oil and gas production sharing contractors in Indonesia operating under the supervision of SKK Migas in 2019:

  • Total number of active work areas: 201
  • Average daily crude oil production: 746,000 BOPD
  • Average daily gas production: 5934 MMSCFD
  • Combined total daily oil and gas production: 1,806,000 BOEPD
  • The total value of the investment: 11.49 Billion USD
  • Number of development wells completed: 322
  • Number of exploration wells drilled: 36
  • The volume of oil and gas in place discovered: 113 BBOE  
  • 2-D seismic surveys completed: 12169 KM
  • 3-D seismic survey completed: 6837 KM2

On the oil and gas discovery front, it is nice to note that REPSOL and partners PETRONAS and MOECO discovered a giant gas field in February 2019 in the Sakakemang block in South Sumatera. With 2 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves, it is one of the largest gas discoveries in the world in 2019 and also the most significant gas discovery in Indonesia in the last 18 years.

On new field development, Inpex Indonesia and SKK Migas made significant progress in developing the huge Abadi gas field and constructing the LNG plant. It was decided the LNG plant will be built in the Yamdena Island in the Maluku province of Indonesia.

The 15 Largest Oil Producers in Indonesia

Here are the 15 largest oil producers operating under the production sharing system in Indonesia in 2019:

  • ExxonMobil Cepu
  • Chevron Indonesia
  • Pertamina EP
  • Pertamina Hulu Mahakam
  • Pertamina Hulu Energi Offshore North West Java (PHE ONWJ)
  • Pertamina Hulu Energi Offshore South East Sumatera (PHE OSES)
  • PetroChina International Jabung
  • Medco E&P Natuna
  • Petronas Carigali Ketapang
  • Pertamina Hulu Kalimantan Timur
  • BOB Bumi Siak Pusako Pertamina Hulu
  • Pertamina Hulu Sanga Sanga
  • Medco E&P Rimau
  • JOB Pertamina Medco Tomori Sulawesi
  • ConocoPhillips Grissik

The 15 largest natural gas producers in 2019

Here are the 15 largest gas producers in Indonesia in 2019:

  • BP Berau
  • ConocoPhillips Grissik
  • Pertamina EP
  • Pertamina Hulu Mahakam
  • ENI Muara Bakau
  • JOB Pertamina Medco Tomori Sulawesi
  • Premier Oil Indonesia
  • PetroChina International Jabung
  • Medco EP Natuna
  • Kangean Energy Indonesia
  • PHE West Madura Offshore
  • Pertamina Hulu Energi Jambi Merang
  • Husky-CNOOC Madura
  • Mubadala Petroleum Indonesia
  • PHE Offshore North West Java

 

The SKK Migas

The SKK Migas of Indonesia has also been very proactive in its roles as the supervisor of the production sharing contractors to facilitate their exploration and production activities.

With the vision to increase the oil production in Indonesia to one million barrels per day by 2030, SKK Migas instituted the Integrated Operation Center (IOC) and the One Door Service Policy (ODSP) in 2019.

The Integrated Operation Center (IOC)

 SKK Migas launched the Integrated Operation Center (IOC) in 2019. With the IOC, SKK Migas now has online and realtime access to information and data related to the exploration, drilling and production activities of the production sharing contractors in all work areas.

The  IOC allows SKK Migas to monitor the daily field activities of all operators, understand the field situations and make prompt recommendations.

The objectives of SKK Migas in establishing the OIC are to keep the oil and gas operations go smoothly and achieve the production targets.

Currently here is the information that is being monitored by the Integrated Operation Center:

  • Oil and gas production (Production Dashboard)
  • Oil and gas lifting (Oil and Gas Lifting Dashboard)
  • Stock Management (Stock Management Dashboard)
  • Plant Operation (Plant Information Management System – PIMS)
  • Facility Maintenance
  • Project Progress
  • Vessel tracking (Vessel Tracking Information System – VTIS)
  • Real-Time Drilling Operation
  • Emergency responses (Emergency Response Center – ERC)

The One Door Service Policy (ODSP)

SKK Migas also introduced One Door Service Policy (ODSP) in 2019. Through ODSP, the applications of all the permits related to exploration, drilling, field development, and production can be processed in one place.

SKK Migas will work with and support all the production sharing contractors in preparing the required documents and submitting the applications to obtain the various permits they need.

This is a very significant service because of the various types of permits that oil operators must apply. With this one-door policy, SKK Migas is hopeful that the various permits can be obtained promptly, and the oil and gas exploration and production targets can be achieved.

The One Door Service Policy consists of four work-groups that will help the production sharing contractors deal with the following type of permits:

  • Permits related to land acquisition and use 
  • Permits related to the environment, safety and security
  • Permits related to the use of resources and infrastructure
  • Permits related to the use of materials and human resources from outside Indonesia.

Several exploration and production targets were exceeded in 2019 and SKK Migas is hopeful the new 2020 targets can be achieved also by the end of the year.

This article is adapted from the information posted by SKK Migas.

 

 

The SKK Migas of Indonesia

SKK Migas – Satuan Kerja Khusus Pelaksana Kegiatan Usaha Hulu Minyak dan Gas Bumi – is a special task force that implements the production sharing contracts, develops the oil and gas upstream business and supervises the activities of the production sharing contractors in Indonesia.

SKK Migas is an institution created by the government of Indonesia based on the presidential regulation “Perpres Nomor 9 Tahun 2013 on the development and management of upstream oil and gas activities”.

SKK Migas is tasked to manage and supervise the upstream oil and gas activities – exploration, drilling, field development, and production – based on the production sharing contract system. It is established with the mission to ensure the exploration and production of the oil and gas will benefit the country and the people of Indonesia.

Here are the functions of SKK Migas:

  • Give considerations and recommendations to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia regarding the preparations and tenders of oil and gas work areas
  • Sign production sharing contracts
  • Study the development plan of a new oil and gas field in a work area, and submit the development proposal of the production sharing contractor for approval by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources
  • Give approval on the field development plan submitted by production sharing contractors
  • Approve the work program and budget of production sharing contractors
  • Monitor the operation and progress made by production sharing contractors and submit reports to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources
  • Appoint sellers of the produced oil and gas that will benefit the country.

These functions were originally carried out by BPPKA, a department under Pertamina, when the production sharing contract system was introduced in 1966. BPPKA (Badan Pembinaan Pengusahaan Kontraktor Asing) was later replaced by BP Migas. BP Migas later became SKK Migas in 2013.

To best serve and support the activities of oil operators around the country, SKK Migas has five field offices. They are:

  1. SKK Migas Sumatera Bagian Utara located in Pekanbaru
  2. SKK Migas Sumatera Bagian Selatan located in Palembang
  3. SKK Migas Kalimantan and Sulawesi located in Balikpapan
  4. SKK Migas Jawa, Bali, Madura dan Nusa Tenggara located in Surabaya
  5. SKK Migas Wilayah Papua dan Maluku located in Sorong

The current head of SKK Migas is Mr. Dwi Soetjipto. Its head office is located at Wisma Mulia, Jalan Gatot Subroto Kav. 42, Jakarta, Indonesia.

About Guy Allinson

Guy Allinson is an experienced upstream oil and gas industry consultant and a lecturer at the School of Petroleum Engineering, University of New South Wales (“UNSW”).

Guy Allinson has held a range of petroleum economics and commercial positions in the oil and gas industry in Europe and the Asia / Pacific regions. He has advised companies and governments in the Asia / Pacific region on petroleum PSC and fiscal terms. He has valued many petroleum properties and companies for acquisition and sale, prepared economics research reports on the oil and gas industry and has provided commercial support for oil field operations and investments worldwide.

Guy has presented courses in petroleum economic analysis for more than 30 years and has presented these courses over 230 times to oil industry professionals in many countries including USA, UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, India, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Egypt, Libya, and South Africa.

Here are the testimonials from delegates who have attended Petroleum Economics, Risk and Fiscal Analysis course presented by Guy Allinson.

This was a fantastic course.  I was worried that the content would be dry and boring but it was the opposite, very interesting.  The notes are great and will make a very good future reference as will the exercise spreadsheets.  Thanks very much.”

“This is an excellent short course for anyone interested in understanding the basics of petroleum economics. The presenter is highly knowledgeable of the subject and excellent in delivering the content.”

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Note:

Mr. Guy Allinson will conduct his flagship course – Petroleum Economics, Risk and Fiscal Analysis on August 17-19, 2020 in Singapore.

For more information about Guy Allinson’s Petroleum Economics, Risk and Fiscal Analysis course, please contact LDI Training at lditrain@singnet.com.sg.

 

The Larantuka Tidal Power Plant in Indonesia

sky-sunset-sun-twilight-46169

Indonesia will have a large tidal power plant in the straits of Larantuka at the Island of Flores. The Larantuka tidal power plant is designed to provide electricity to more than 100,000 residents in that area.

Witteveen+Bos and Bita Bina Semesta had started the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (EISA) and Indonesian Environmental Impact Assessment (AMDAL) for the Larantuka Tidal Power Plant. These environmental assessments will be completed on September 1, 2020.

The Larantuka tidal power plant is commissioned by Tidal Bridge BV. The project consists of building and operating a 30-megawatt tidal power plant which will be the largest in the world! The turbines will be integrated into a bridge between Flores and Adonara island. The bridge will replace the dangerous ferry crossings at the Larantuka Strait. This is an interesting project where connectivity and renewable energy are integrated in an innovative way.

A tidal power plant converts the energy provided from tides into electricity. Tidal power is one of the most reliable sources of renewable energy. Tides are a more predictable power source than the wind or the sun. It is interesting to note that the moon is the source of the energy provided by the tides.

This Larantuka tidal power plant project aligns with Indonesia’s commitment to increase the share of renewable energy in the total energy supply to 25% by 2025. It also commits to reduce the emission of CO2 by 300 million tonnes by 2030.

The tapping of ocean energy, consisting of wave and tidal energy to produce clean and cheaper power will grow significantly.  According to Market Research Future, the annual growth rate of the global wave and tidal market is expected to be more than 17% until 2023.

Here are the current top five tidal power plants around the world:

  1. Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station, South Korea – 254 MW
  2. La Rance Tidal Power Plant, France – 240 MW
  3.  Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, UK – 240 MW
  4.  MeyGen Tidal Energy Project, Scotland – 86 MW
  5.  Annapolis Royal Generating Station, Canada – 20 MW

This article was written by Jamin Djuang, a published author of “The Story of Oil and Gas: How Oil and Gas Are Explored, Drilled and Produced” for readers who have not seen an oil field.

 

 

The Masela LNG Plant Location – Yamdena Island

Masela LNG - 75341025_2575149926055521_9059067100873621504_n

The Inpex Abadi Masela LNG plant in Indonesia will be built on Yamdena Island in Kabupaten Kepulauan Tanimbar of the Province of Maluku. Yamdena island is the biggest island among the Tanimbar Islands.

The head of SKK Migas of Indonesia, Bapak Dwi Sutjipto, handed the documents related to the plant location plan to the governor of Maluku, Bapak Murad Ismail on November 4, 2019, in Ambon. The event was attended by Mr. Akihiro Watanabe from Inpex and Mr. Lucki Wattimury.

(Note: SKK Migas is an Indonesian government institution that is tasked to manage all upstream oil and gas activities of companies who operate in Indonesia under a Cooperation Contract.)

This is a significant positive step to accelerate the construction of the Abadi Masela LNG plant. The LNG plant is designed to produce 9.5 million tons of LNG annually.

In this event, the governor of Maluku stated that the local government of Maluku welcomes the project and will give their full support in the land acquisition and construction of the LNG plant.

The total investment of the huge Abadi Masela project estimated at around US$20 billion will be the biggest project in Indonesia. During the development phase, the project will employ around 30,000 workers.

The natural gas to feed the LNG plant will come from the giant offshore Abadi gas field which was discovered by Inpex in 2000. The Abadi field has the capacity to produce more than 1 billion SCF of gas per day and 20,000 barrels of condensate per day for 24 years.

Inpex Indonesia has a 65 percent share of the Abadi Masela project and Shell has the remaining 35 percent. Inpex will operate the field until 2055.

This article was written by Jamin Djuang, a published author of “The Story of Oil and Gas: How Oil and Gas Are Explored, Drilled and Produced” for readers who have not seen an oil field.

This information is adapted from the Facebook post of Mr. Rinto Pudyantoro.

The Giant Carcara and the Pre-Salt Basin

A semisubmersible drilling rig

 

The Giant Carcara Oil Field

The giant Carcara is a pre-salt oil and gas field located in the Santos basin offshore Brazil. It lies in water depths of 2027 meters and is one of the biggest discoveries in the world. It was discovered by Petrobras in 2012.

The oil reservoir lies in the pre-salt layer and its total thickness is more than 400 meters. It is estimated to contain recoverable reserves of more than one billion barrels of oil.

Operated by Equinor, oil production from the Carcara field is scheduled to start in 2024. Two FPSOs will be used to produce the oil and gas.

The Interesting Pre-Salt Basins

Oil was discovered in the Pre-Salt Basin in offshore Brazil in 2005. Oil-rich formations sit deep in the water and under thick layers of rock and salt.

Pre-salt basins were formed more than 100 million years ago when the South American and African continents separated, and therefore pre-salt layers are especially common off the coast of Africa and Brazil.

The hydrocarbon sits under layers of salt formations that are 2000 meters thick. The pre-salt production rates are some of the highest in the world for deepwater fields.

In Africa, the first pre-salt oil discoveries took place in Angola in 1983. The presence of pre-salt basins in eastern offshore Brazil and western offshore of Africa is proof that the South American and African continents were connected at one time.

This article was written by Jamin Djuang, a published author of “The Story of Oil and Gas: How Oil and Gas Are Explored, Drilled and Produced” for readers who have not seen an oil field.

Balikpapan – The Most Interesting Oil Town of Indonesia

City of Balikpapan - Photo by Uut Minhudan
The city of Balikpapan – Photo courtesy of Uut Minhudan

Balikpapan, located in East Kalimantan, is the most well known and interesting oil town in Indonesia, and possibly in the world. It is at the center of oil and gas exploration and production activities that have been taking place in East Kalimantan since 1897 when the first oil well was drilled in Balikpapan. It is also the battleground of two fierce battles during World War II. It is set to become even more well known with the announcement of the relocation of the capital city of Indonesia from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.

Here are the interesting facts about Balikpapan.

The First Oil Discovery At Balikpapan

Oil was discovered in Balikpapan in 1897 when Jacobus Hubertus Menten, a Dutch mining engineer observed oil seepages in the area. With the help from Sir Marcus Samuel from Shell Transport and Trading Ltd, they drilled the famous Well Mathilda B-1 on 10 February 1897. The well was drilled to 222 Meter and it flowed initially at 184 barrels per day. This oil discovery in Balikpapan took place 38 years after Sir Edwin Drake drilled the world’s first oil well in America.

With the discovery, Jacobus Hubertus Menten and Sir Marcus Samuel formed Nederlandsch Indisch Industrie en Handel Maatschappij (NIIHM), and it continued to discover other oil fields away from Balikpapan. 10 February 1897 is considered the birth date of Balikpapan.

The Balikpapan Refinery

To process the crude oil from the surrounding area and to meet the needs for fuel, the oil refinery of Balikpapan was completed in 1922 by BPM (Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij) which was a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. The Balikpapan refinery was damaged in 1942 when the Japanese army invaded Balikpapan. The refinery was controlled by the Japanese army in 1942-1945. BPM regained control of the refinery after the Allied forces ended the Japanese occupation of Balikpapan in 1945.

Several years later, Pertamina gained control of the refinery in 1949. The refinery has been expanded and upgraded several times to meet the increasing demand for fuel in the eastern part of Indonesia.

As one of the largest refineries in Indonesia, it is set to become even bigger. It is currently undergoing a large 4-billion-dollar expansion which will increase its processing capacity from 260,000 barrels per day to 360,000 barrels per day when it is completed in 2021. The refinery will have the capability to produce high-quality Euro V standard fuels.

The Discovery of Giant Oil and Gas Fields

Balikpapan experienced its biggest boom when several large international oil companies came to town after the production sharing contract scheme was introduced by Indonesia in 1966.

Balikpapan was the base of Union Oil of California (Unocal), Total and Roy M. Huffington Incorporated (Huffco) during their exploration and production operations in East Kalimantan where they discovered several giant oil and gas fields.

Pertamina has a huge presence in Balikpapan since 1949 when it took over the oilfields and the refinery which were previously operated by BPM (Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij), a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell.

Operated from Balikpapan, Unocal in partnership with Japex discovered the giant offshore oil field of Attaka in 1970. It also discovered the offshore Sepinggan field and the Yakin field both of which are clearly visible from the hills at Balikpapan. In 1996, Unocal discovered and developed the West Seno field which is the first deepwater oil field in Indonesia.

Total with its partner, Inpex, acquired the Mahakam Block in 1966. They discovered several giant offshore oil and gas fields: Handil, Peciko, Tambora, Bekapai, South Mahakam, Sisi-Nubi, and Tunu.

Huffco discovered the giant onshore Badak gas field in 1970 in East Kalimantan. The discovery of the giant Badak gas field had a huge influence on the course of oil and gas development in East Kalimantan. It prompted Huffco and Pertamina of Indonesia to build an LNG plant making it possible to export the gas.

Besides the Badak field, Huffco subsequently discovered the Nilam, Pamaguan, Semberah, Mutiara, Beras, and Lempake fields.

Huffco later became known as VICO Indonesia (Virginia Indonesia Company) in 1990 after Mr. Roy M. Huffinton sold the company.

After the introduction of the production sharing contract scheme  (PSC) in 1966, and with the discovery of several giant oil and fields in East Kalimantan and in other parts of Indonesia, crude oil production in Indonesia increased from 500,000 BOPD to 1,650,000 BOPD at its peak in 1977.

The Badak LNG Plant in Bontang

The LNG plant known as the Badak LNG was completed in 1977. Located in Bontang, besides processing the gas produced by Huffco from the Badak field, the Badak LNG plant also processes gas produced from the fields operated by Unocal and Total located in East Kalimantan. Up until the completion of the LNG plant, most of the associated gas produced by Unocal and Total were flared.

The Badak LNG plant initially comprised of two trains. Over the years, with new field discoveries, six additional trains were constructed. With 22.5 million tons per year LNG production capacity, it is one of the largest LNG plants in the world.

As of 16 September 2019, Badak LNG has delivered 9445 LNG cargoes to countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China, the USA, Russia, and India. 

The Fierce Battlefield during World War II Twice

Being rich in oil and having a refinery, Balikpapan was so vital that it became a battlefield twice during World War II.

The Battle of Balikpapan in 1942

During World War II, in order to control the supply of fuel, Japan invaded Balikpapan in 1942. The Dutch garrison resisted the invasion but eventually was defeated by the much bigger Japanese forces. The refinery was partially destroyed during the invasion. Japanese forces took control of Balikpapan, oil production and the refinery from 1942 to 1945.

The Battle of Balikpapan in 1945

To regain control of Balikpapan and the oil supply, the Allied forces directed by General Douglas McArthur and spearheaded by the Australian 7th Division invaded Balikpapan on 25 June 1945. After 3 weeks of fierce fighting and heavy bombing, the Japanese soldiers in Balikpapan finally surrendered on 21 July 1945. Many Japanese soldiers fought to the end in the battle. There is a Japanese cemetery hidden among the hills in Balikpapan.

The Coal Boom of Balikpapan in the 1990s

Balikpapan experienced another economic boom when it became the center of the booming coal production in East Kalimantan beginning in the 1990s.

The Balikpapan Coal Terminal completed in 1995 is one of the biggest coal terminals in Indonesia. It has a throughput capacity of 15 million tons of coal annually.

Will Balikpapan continue to boom?

Since the discovery of the first oil well in Balikpapan in 1897, Balikpapan has seen several booms in the last 120 years. It has grown from a small fishing village to become a city with a population of 850,000 today.

On 26 August 2019, the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, announced that Indonesia will relocate its capital city from Jakarta to East Kalimantan. As the main gateway to East Kalimantan, Balikpapan will be the center of activities during the construction of a new capital of Indonesia. So, Balikpapan will likely continue to boom.

Finally, Balikpapan indeed is a very interesting town. As an oil and coal mining town, it has been voted several times as the most liveable city in Indonesia.  Thousands of oil people from around the world have worked and lived here. Many children of international expatriates and Indonesian oil professionals from Java, Sumatera and other parts of Indonesia grew up in Balikpapan. Most of them have fond memories of Balikpapan.

Many sons and daughters of the first-generation Indonesian oil professionals follow the footsteps of their parents to work for oil companies in Balikpapan. There is a saying in Balikpapan whoever has drunk the water of Balikpapan will surely return. The writer of this article lived and worked for Unocal in Balikpapan from 1976 to 1980, and he has returned to visit this interesting place many times.

This article was written by Jamin Djuang, a published author of “The Story of Oil and Gas: How Oil and Gas Are Explored, Drilled and Produced” for readers who have not seen an oil field.